“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted”. Hebrew 12:1-3 In this passage the Apostle Paul admonished the early church about losing faith especially after they have become a believer in the Lord Jesus. He uses the analogy of a race to the Christian life because it is not a sprint but rather a marathon and it is not how you start but how you finish.
A few years ago I developed a passion for long-distance running and have since ran few marathons. When you run 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometers), part of your training is not to focus so much on how you will start the race but how you want to finish. The start of every race is always exciting when you see crowds of people lining up and everyone is excited to finally be here because many have trained for months and have made many sacrifices. When the gun goes off and the race commences, many people realize that their training has not completely prepared them for what lies ahead and so it is with our lives. However, those who have trained are always encouraged to remember that they’ve trained for this.
Ever wonder why a graduation ceremony is called a commencement, the word, commence means to begin, to begin a journey, a race, a school, a job, a family. When you received your high school diploma or your college degree you had a commencement ceremony, when you received your master and your doctorate and you became 2 and 3 degrees hotter, they gave you another diploma and hooded you during your commencement ceremony. At each commencement you were told well done on your accomplishments but you were never told that you’ve arrived. You were never told that you’ve arrived because the conferring of the diploma or degree that you have worked so hard for the past 12, 16, or even 20 plus years for was just the beginning of something great.
As you commence on your journey to the next level of life, whether you’re starting high school, college, or graduate school, changing jobs, starting a new job or a family, I want to tell you that it is not how you start but how you finish. I want to encourage you to lay aside things that cause distractions and focus your faith on Jesus Christ who is the one that has brought you to this point in your journey of life and He is the only one who is able to take you to the next level in it. May God give you strength to endure in your race in Jesus’ name. Amen. Bro. John Adeniji